Quotations by Chesterfield (Lord)


Caesar, when embarking in a storm, said that it was not necessary he should live, but that it was absolutely necessary he should get to the place to which he was going.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (24 Nov 1749)
Added on 5-Dec-12 | Last updated 5-Dec-12
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Either a good or a bad reputation outruns and gets before people wherever they go.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 15-Apr-09
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Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (10 Mar 1746)
Added on 26-Jan-15 | Last updated 26-Jan-15
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If we do not plant it [knowledge] when young, it will give us no shade when we are old.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (11 Dec 1747)
Added on 5-Jan-15 | Last updated 5-Jan-15
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He who has the most friends and the fewest enemies is the strongest.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (11 Nov 1752)
Added on 30-Sep-14 | Last updated 30-Sep-14
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Health … is the first and greatest of all blessings.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (12 Mar 1768)
Added on 11-Oct-10 | Last updated 11-Oct-10
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The greatest favors may be done so awkwardly and so bunglingly as to offend; and disagreeable things may be done so agreeably as almost to oblige.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (14 Feb 1752)
Added on 9-Mar-12 | Last updated 9-Mar-12
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An able man shows his Spirit by gentle words and resolute actions.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (15 Jan 1753)
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Added on 27-Apr-15 | Last updated 27-Apr-15
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A cheerful, easy countenance and behavior are very useful: they make fools think you a good-natured man, and they make designing men think you an undesigning one.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (15 Jan 1753)
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Added on 5-Aug-16 | Last updated 5-Aug-16
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Young men are apt to think themselves wise enough, as drunken men are apt to think themselves sober enough. They look upon spirit to be a much better thing than experience, which they call coldness. They are but half mistaken; for though spirit without experience is dangerous, experience without spirit is languid and defective.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (15 Jan. 1743)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Honest error is to be pitied, not ridiculed.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (16 Feb 1748)
Added on 9-Mar-15 | Last updated 9-Mar-15
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Individuals sometimes forgive, but bodies and societies never do.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (17 Feb 1754)
Added on 13-Apr-15 | Last updated 13-Apr-15
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Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (17 May 1750)
Added on 8-Dec-11 | Last updated 8-Dec-11
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The heart never grows better by age; I fear rather worse; always harder. A young liar will be an old one; and a young knave will only be a greater knave as he grows older.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (17 May 1750)
Added on 25-Oct-16 | Last updated 25-Oct-16
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Next to doing things that deserve to be written, there is nothing that gets a man more credit, or gives him more pleasure, than to write things that deserve to be read.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (1739)
Added on 19-Jan-15 | Last updated 19-Jan-15
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We are, in truth, more than half what we are by imitation. The great point is, to choose good models and to study them with care.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (18 Jan 1750)
Added on 27-Jan-11 | Last updated 27-Jan-11
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He makes people pleased with him by making them first pleased with themselves.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (18 Jan 1750)
Added on 14-Aug-15 | Last updated 14-Aug-15
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Be wiser than other people, if you can; but do not tell them so.

Chesterfield - be wiser - wist_info

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (19 Nov 1745)
Added on 18-Nov-15 | Last updated 18-Nov-15
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Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (20 Aug 1749)
Added on 1-May-14 | Last updated 1-May-14
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Great merit, or great failings, will make you be respected or despised; but trifles, little attentions, mere nothings, either done or neglected, will make you either liked or disliked, in the general run of the world.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (20 Jul 1749)
Added on 19-Jul-11 | Last updated 19-Jul-11
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Men, as well as women, are much oftener led by their hearts than by their understandings.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (21 Jan 1748)
Added on 2-Mar-15 | Last updated 2-Mar-15
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Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket; and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to show that you have one. If you are asked what o’clock it is, tell it; but do not proclaim it hourly and unasked, like the watchman.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (22 Feb. 1748)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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A man who does not possess himself enough to hear disagreeable things without visible marks of anger and change of coutenance, or agreeable ones without sudden bursts of joy and expansion of countenance, is at the mercy of every artful knave or pert coxcomb.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (22 May 1749)
Added on 11-May-09 | Last updated 11-May-09
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Some people are to be reasoned, some flattered, some intimidated, and some teased into a thing; but, in general, all are to be brought into it at last, if skillfully applied to, properly managed, and indefatigably attacked in their several weak places.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (22 May 1749)
Added on 23-Jul-15 | Last updated 23-Jul-15
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Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable; however, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (24 May 1750)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Feb-15
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Good manners are the settled medium of social, as specie is of commercial, life; returns are equally expected for both.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (25 Dec. 1753)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Let this be one invariable rule of your conduct — Never to show the least symptom of resentment which you cannot to a certain degree gratify, but always to smile, where you cannot strike.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (26 Mar 1754)
Added on 5-Sep-12 | Last updated 5-Sep-12
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People in general will much better bear being told of their vices or crimes than of their little failings or weaknesses.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (26 Nov 1749)
Added on 16-Mar-15 | Last updated 16-Mar-15
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Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it the most, always like it the least.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (29 Jan 1748)
Added on 3-Apr-13 | Last updated 3-Apr-13
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Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (29 Nov. 1745)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Every man seeks for truth: God only knows who has found it.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (30 Jul 1747)
Added on 16-Feb-15 | Last updated 16-Feb-15
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The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in the closet.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (4 Oct 1746)
Added on 2-Feb-15 | Last updated 2-Feb-15
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You must look into people as well as at them.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (4 Oct 1746)
Added on 11-Oct-16 | Last updated 11-Oct-16
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I wish to God that you had as much pleasure in following my advice, as I have in giving it [to] you.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (5 Feb 1750)
Added on 12-Jun-08 | Last updated 12-Jun-08
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There is a certain dignity to be kept up in pleasures, as well as in business.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (5 Feb 1750)
Added on 30-Mar-15 | Last updated 30-Mar-15
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Give me virtuous actions, and I will not quibble … about the motives.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (5 Sep 1748)
Added on 8-Nov-11 | Last updated 8-Nov-11
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Men are much more unwilling to have their weaknesses and their imperfections known than their crimes.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (5 Sep 1748)
Added on 30-Aug-13 | Last updated 30-Aug-13
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Polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (6 Mar 1747)
Added on 9-Feb-15 | Last updated 9-Feb-15
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The best authors are always the severist critics of their own works.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (6 May 1751)
Added on 9-Nov-09 | Last updated 9-Nov-09
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I recommend you to take care of the minutes: for hours will take care of themselves.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (6 Nov. 1747)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Let the great book of the world be your principal study.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (7 Apr 1756)
Added on 18-Dec-14 | Last updated 18-Dec-14
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Business and pleasure, rightly understood, mutually assist each other, instead of being enemies, as silly or dull people often think them. No man tastes pleasures truly who does not earn them by previous business; and few people do business well who do nothing else.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (7 Aug 1749)
Added on 15-May-15 | Last updated 15-May-15
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If you can once engage people’s pride, love, pity, ambition (or whatever is their prevailing passion) on your side, you need not fear what their reason can do against you.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (8 Feb. 1746)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The day, if well employed, is long enough for everything.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (8 Jan 1751)
Added on 7-Jul-09 | Last updated 7-Jul-09
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Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (8 May 1750)
Added on 23-Mar-15 | Last updated 23-Mar-15
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To be pleased, one must please. What pleases you in others will in general please them in you.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (9 Feb 1750)
Added on 6-Apr-15 | Last updated 6-Apr-15
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What pleases you in others will in general please them in you.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (9 Jul 1750)
Added on 31-Jul-15 | Last updated 31-Jul-15
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There is nothing that people bear more impatiently, or forgive less, than contempt; and an injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult.

Chesterfield - injury insult - wist_info quote

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (9 Oct 1746)
Added on 15-Apr-09 | Last updated 17-Dec-15
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I am very sure that any man of common understanding may, by proper culture, care, attention and labor, make himself whatever he pleases, except a great poet.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (9 Oct 1746)
Added on 7-May-15 | Last updated 7-May-15
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The scholar, without good breeding, is a pedant; the philosopher, a cynic; the soldier, a brute; and every man disagreeable.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (9 Oct 1747)
Added on 29-Jan-16 | Last updated 29-Jan-16
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All you learn and all you can read will be of little use to you if you do not think and reason upon it yourself. One reads to know other people’s thoughts, but if we take them upon trust, without examining and comparing them with our own, it is really living upon other people’s scraps or retailing other people’s goods.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son, “Thursday” (1740?)
Added on 29-Nov-12 | Last updated 29-Nov-12
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To know the thoughts of others is of use because it suggests thoughts to oneself and helps one to form a judgment, but to repeat other people’s thoughts without considering whether they are right or wrong is the talent only of a parrot or at most a player.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son, “Thursday” (1740?)
Added on 4-Dec-12 | Last updated 4-Dec-12
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